Prison Notebooks

Based on the Civil War gaol journals of Dorothy Macardle

Performed by Sharon McArdle
Directed by Declan Gorman

The handwritten gaol diaries of a visionary Irish artist and revolutionary, kept in secret and previously unpublished, have been adapted into a remarkable solo theatre performance by Sharon McArdle and Declan Gorman.Dorothy Macardle was an outstanding Irish woman of the 20th century. A novelist, playwright, Hollywood screenwriter, historian and pioneering human rights campaigner, in November 1922 she was arrested by Free State forces for Anti-Treaty propagandist activity. Her artistic and scholarly manuscripts were publicly burned on a Dublin street. She was imprisoned without trial in Mountjoy and later Kilmainham Gaol and the North Dublin Union.

Her recently uncovered prison diaries reveal Dorothy not just as a committed political thinker but a visionary artist, whose connection to the uncanny, and meditations on time, trauma and loss place her among the literary innovators of the early 20th century. Written in inhumane conditions, the journals include warm, humorous portraits of fellow women prisoners, tales of ghostly apparitions, intimate dreamscapes, paranormal episodes and devastating accounts of deprivation and violation, all captured vividly in this original performance.

Research and development of this work have been made possible with the support of Create Louth – the Arts Service of Louth Local Authorities; Fingal Arts Office; Bank of Ireland Arts Awards; Dublin City University and the Arts Council (Theatre Project Award).

Choreographer: Ella Clarke

Singer: Sophie Coyle

Lighting Designer: Pedro Pacheco

Tickets €18 | €16 concession (student/OAP)
Running time 110 mins with an interval

About the company…

DMAPP (Dorothy Macardle Archive and Performance Project) is a unique undertaking by a group of artists to focus attention on playwright, novelist and political activist Dorothy Macardle.

Sharon McArdle trained as an Actor Musician at Rose Bruford College, UK. Over recent years, she has been building a repertoire of pieces, predominantly one person shows, centering on culturally or historically notable Irish women. She previously collaborated with Declan Gorman on a one-woman show, Brontë: A Solo Portrait of Charlotte, by William Luce. Sharon is a lecturer in drama education at the school of arts and movement, DCU.

Declan Gorman is a playwright, director and performer with a track record of innovation in the Irish theatre. His solo shows “The Dubliners Dilemma” and “Falling through the Universe” (after Joyce) have toured extensively in Ireland and to USA, Norway, Russia, He was formerly Artistic Director of Upstate Theatre, Drogheda, where his work included his adaptation of Patrick Kavanagh’s “The Green Fool” and his own “Border Chronicles Trilogy”, comprising “Hades”, “Epic” and “At Peace”.

14 – 16 Nov
Boys’ School